By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Second-best Celtics team ever? (II)

Media Nation reader J.V. notes that Bob Ryan wasn’t exactly predicting glory last August, when it looked to him like the Celtics were going to throw three superstars and a bunch of not-very-warm bodies out there every night. Ryan wrote:

Unless it really is going to be a three-on-three NBA, the Celtics will be forced to place two additional players on the floor, and not just occasionally, but for every one of the 48 minutes.

That concerns me. That concerns me because what I am about to say is nonnegotiable: What’s left on the Celtics’ roster is by far the worst collection of proven talent in the NBA.

Be sure to watch the video, too, in which Charlie Pierce agrees with Ryan. Hey, it wasn’t that dumb when they said it. I guess.

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  1. Anonymous

    Incredible to read this piece and compare it to the gushing Ryan of more-recent vintage. My favorite line among many: “There is nothing to suggest the Celtics won’t once again be a horrible defensive team.”-JackB

  2. Steve

    I remember I was predicting that the “big three” would have no more than 50 games together, due to various injuries. As for “horrible defensive team”, I think there was a complete underestimation of what Kevin Garnett would bring to this team. I know I could not have imagined how good a player he is, and it’s been some time since Boston has seen defensive talent in the middle like Kevin brings.

  3. mike_b1

    I remember Ryan’s column on this, as well as some others, and I recall feeling frustrated at how little insight they showed of what it takes to win in the NBA. The NBA is a talent league, as Chris Wallace says, and the preseason Celtics had three legitimate All Stars — one more than any other team. That was a huge luxury. What they were missing — warm bodies, mostly — are completely replaceable, unless you think that PJ Brown is really Basketball Jesus in short pants. There was no way, short of a plane crash, they weren’t going to win 50 games, even if they had to play Ryan himself at point guard.

  4. Anonymous

    I think Bob Ryan is a waste of newsprint, a little long in the tooth as they say. (Why didn’t he take the buyout?)But people have way, way too much time on their hands if they’re digging up old columns and comparing them to right now.There were also people on sports radio saying that Danny Ainge was a fool for trading Al Jefferson away. How’s that working out for you now?Ryan was doing what he’s supposed to do, analyzing a trade. Unfortunately, his time has passed, but he hasn’t figured that out yet.

  5. Anonymous

    I find it refreshing that Bob Ryan has altered his viewpoint on the 2007-2008 Celtics rather than dismissing new evidence that didn’t fit with his original opinion.I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but this Celtics world championship reminded me a lot of the Florida Marlins World Series wins. Kevin Garnett might have sounded like he was winning a Daytime Emmy, but he summed it up nicely: “This is for you, ‘Sota….This is for Chicago!” Can you imagine Havlicek or Russell or Cowens or DJ or Bird telling you how a Celtics championship was for Woody Hayes, or the Bay Area, or FLA, or Seattle, or French Lick?The only people I have had any longstanding feelings about associated with the Celtics are Paul Pierce and Danny Ainge, and I didn’t like Ainge too much as a player. I was happy for Pierce, although I never felt that strongly about him, and happy for Doc Rivers, who seems like a good guy.But rooting for the Celtics felt a lot more like rooting for the laundry than usual. Kudos to Ainge and the rest of the organization for turning things around so quickly, and pulling the trigger on the roster moves so quickly. The transient nature of it just took some emotional oomph out of it for me.Bob in Peabody

  6. Anonymous

    Wow.Maybe it’s that I’m a little long in the tooth myself, but to me Bob Ryan is the best thing in the Boston sports media. I marvel at his passion, and I think his historical perspective is crucial.Wishing that Ryan took the Globe buyout is like wishing that Varitek would retire so we can get Kevin Cash in there.Bob in Peabody

  7. Anonymous

    Your analogy doesn’t quite work. Bob Ryan is more like having Carlton Fisk still catching for the Red Sox. I’m not seeking mediocrity, I’m seeking someone who will actually put some leather to the pavement and not just rely on his reputation to carry the day.It’s not that Bob Ryan is old. It’s that he doesn’t have it anymore. He’s lost too much off the fastball and he never had a curve.Part of the problem is that Ryan was losing it when the Celtics last won it and that was 22 years ago!!!!

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